Indian-American refuses to enter a guilty plea after the Tesla crash
New York, (IANS) An Indian-American who was accused of intentionally driving his Tesla down a cliff in California while his wife and kids were inside has entered a not guilty plea to the attempted murder charge.
“Attempted first-degree murder and child abuse, as well as enhancements for serious bodily injury and domestic abuse,” are the charges brought against Dharmesh A. Patel, 41, of Pasadena.
Patel, a radiologist with Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, appeared in front of a Redwood City courthouse last week and pleaded not guilty.
If convicted on the three counts of murder charges, Patel could get a life sentence in prison.
According to The New York Post, Patel has retained Joshua Bentley, a well-known California attorney, to represent him in court. For March 20, a preliminary hearing is scheduled.
According to San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, Patel’s wife’s story, witness testimonies from other drivers, and video of the roadway provide sufficient evidence to support charges against him.
A San Mateo County judge ordered Patel to be held without bail at the Maguire Correctional Facility, citing the risk he poses to his family.
Patel’s car was traveling south on State Route 1 on January 2 when it went over a 250-foot cliff at Devil’s Slide, south of the Tom Lantos Tunnels, and flipped and landed on its wheels near the water’s edge.
Firefighters had to cut the vehicle in order to extract Patel’s two children, a seven-year-old girl, and a four-year-old boy. The daughter was seriously injured, while the boy escaped with only bruises.
The couple was dragged from the vehicle’s windows.
Patel’s motivation for the act has yet to be determined by investigators.
“We’re looking into what led up to this. Was there depression or anything else? It wasn’t just that he was trying to kill them, he was trying to kill himself too,” Wagstaffe had said in a late January press conference.
Patel has been prohibited from contacting his wife or their children.